Updated on 09/17/2011 9:01PM

R Lady Joy dominates Oaks

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Tom Cooley
Rizzi Girl wins the 7th running of the $125,000 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

TAMPA, Fla. - Trainer Kirk Ziadie has been the king of Tampa Bay Downs for the past two winters, winning with more than 40 percent of his starters during that period. Ziadie continued that dominance Saturday, winning the $150,000 Florida Oaks with R Lady Joy shortly after beating males with Whenthedoveflies in the inaugural running of the $75,000 Holiday Inn Express.

R Lady Joy came into the 1 1/16-mile Oaks off a maiden victory, but she dominated an Oaks field that included Gulfstream Park invaders Toll Taker and Even Again. R Lady Joy rated off the early pace of longshot Leona's Knight, moved readily to command when asked by jockey Jose Lezcano into the stretch, and then drew off smartly to an impressive nine-length victory over the 8-5 favorite, Toll Taker.

Toll Taker, winner of the Suncoast Stakes here on Feb. 26, was supplemented into the Florida Oaks at a cost of $5,000 by trainer Tim Hills. Parked wide throughout after breaking from the extreme outside in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, Toll Taker rallied to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Gotta Rush. Even Again was in some tight quarters down the backstretch and was never a factor, finishing eighth.

R Lady Joy, a daughter of Vicar, is owned by Richard N. Averill. She covered the distance in 1:44.58 seconds and paid $14.40.

"She was very impressive," said Ziadie, who has won with 19 of the 40 horses he has started at the meet. "I liked her better going into this race than 'Dove,' so when she won I was pretty confident. She's improved with every race, especially since we've stretched her out around two turns. She really wants to go a distance."

R Lady Joy is not nominated to the April 9 Ashland at Keeneland or the May 6 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, but Averill said supplementing her was "always a possibility."

Whenthedoveflies got Ziadie's day off to a big start when she registered a 1 3/4-length victory over Scattering Breezes in the Holiday Inn Express on turf. She was also ridden by Lezcano.

The victory was the fifth in six starts over the local turf course for Whenthedoveflies, a 5-year-old daughter of Dove Hunt who is owned by the Kalacan Racing Stable. She paid $5.20.

Rizzi Girl gives Downing first graded win

Bill "Radio" Downing earned the first graded victory of his training career when he sent out Rizzi Girl to upset the Grade 3, $125,000 . The stretch-runner finished full of run down the middle of the course to catch the pacesetter, Sister Star, in the final strides to post a neck victory.

Noisette, who forced the pace through the 1 1/8-mile Hillsborough, finished third, another 2 3/4 lengths behind Sister Star. Snowdrops raced within easy striking distance but came up empty through the stretch and finished fourth as the 7-10 favorite.

Rizzi Girl paid $23.20 after running the distance in 1:52.59 over a firm course.

"I'm speechless," said Downing. "We went in here because she loves this course and were hoping to get her stakes placed in a graded race for breeding purposes."